5 Minutes With Dan and Victoria
Dan Knight and Victoria Paley have recently joined Evolution ABS and our marketing coordinator, Georgia Manning, has asked them some questions to get to know them and their roles.
1. So, who are you?
Dan: I’m Dan and I joined the practice as a Director in April, having worked for a regional practice for around 12 years specialising in agriculture and rural businesses.
Victoria: I’m Victoria and have recently joined the practice as a Senior Tax Manager, having worked with Dan for several years.
Although we are both Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers, we only spend a modest amount of time dealing with routine accounts and tax returns. We spend the majority of our time helping farming families with long term planning and project work, from buying or selling assets to restructuring the family business. As well as technical tax work, we are often engaged to facilitate discussion between family members to help make decisions and work with other professional advisers to implement change.
2. How did you get into Accountancy?
Dan: Having grown up on a dairy farm on the Dorset/Somerset border, I spent several years working in agriculture. I became increasingly interested in the business management aspects of farming and pursued a career in agricultural accountancy to help a range of businesses and families with the challenges they face.
Victoria: Growing up in East Devon and spending several years in Axminster YFC, I wanted to pursue a career in the rural industry. I studied Rural Resource Management at the University of Reading, which focused on agriculture, environmental management, agricultural law and business management. I particularly enjoyed the financial aspects and therefore chose to become an accountant with a bias for rural businesses.
3. What do you enjoy most about coming to work?
Victoria: I enjoy helping people make the best of their situation. I particularly enjoy problem solving and so helping clients progress from their current position to where they want to be, as tax efficiently and as practically as possible, presents a challenge that I enjoy solving.
No two clients are the same as every client has unique circumstances and family dynamics, which keeps our job challenging and enjoyable. Coupled with that is the ever changing and continually expanding tax legislation meaning that nothing standstills for long!
Dan: I take huge satisfaction from helping people through often difficult situations. We are often asked to help with a tax issue but when we meet clients it often becomes clear that tax is only one aspect of a much larger and complex situation.
For example, a family asked for Capital Gains Tax advice on the reluctant sale of their farm as family relationships had broken down. Once we discussed the reasons for the sale and explored other options, it became apparent that they could achieve their objectives by selling just a few acres of off lying land and restructuring the business to facilitate independence between the two successors.
With the land now sold and two independent businesses created, those individuals have now restored their relationship and are farming successfully alongside each other, regularly sharing machinery, ideas and even childcare!
Helping families like this makes me love coming to work.
4. What do you get up to outside of work?
Victoria: I have a Labrador puppy at home and so I spend lots of time trying to train him at the moment. He seems to enjoy walks to the pub which is win win! I also have a horse which keeps me busy and I hope to be back out in the hunting field this winter. Any spare time is spent slowly renovating our house or trying to keep up with all of my nieces and nephews!
I also love to travel and try and make the most of holidays having been to India, Cuba, South America and South East Asia over the last few years.
Dan: I have a young son who is very keen on football, so Friday evenings and Sunday mornings mostly consist of supporting the team with training and matches.
I really enjoy spending time outdoors and shoot regularly, either sporting clays throughout the summer or on a game peg during the winter.
Are you self-employed? How could you best help yourself?
If you are self employed, this could be a very anxious time, but we are here to help our clients see some of the potential opportunities that may arise from these unprecedented events.
Many may have farm shops or cafés and, although COVID-19 may have turned your world upside down, you should be looking for the long term openings that you could capture.
The new Self Employment Scheme, will allow you to claim a taxable grant of up to 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months (back dated to 1 March). This may be extended, depending on where we stand with COVID-19 in three months time.
The scheme will be based on your previous 3 years profit, and is potentially available if you show a loss in your trading or partnership profits. However, in order to claim this you do not need to stop working, you can continue to work and earn money and still be eligible. Although, not a problem for some, the scheme is only available for those who have an average annual taxable profit of <£50,000 after reinvestment. Therefore those that were close to this threshold will need to remember to include it in their draft taxable profit figures when considering any yearend tax planning in 2021. Unfortunately, no help will be given to those who have only recently entered the self employed market and do not have a 2018-19 return, so will not help those who entered from 6 April 2019
Another consideration worth noting will be your eligibility to claim the Small Business Grant if you were correctly claiming the relief on 11 March 2020.
Whichever relief you are eligible for you do not need to do anything to claim them at the moment. You could potentially just sit back and wait for HMRC to contact you on the Self-employment Scheme and your local council to contact you on the Small Business Grant, of which some have already received their letters. However that said, you are a business owner and sitting back and waiting probably does not come naturally. Therefore, why not spend the time ensuring your business is well positioned for when we come out on the other side of COVID-19 together with checking your insurance details as COVID-19 has now been listed and therefore may mean that you can make a claim.
Many farm shops are providing delivery services, or café’s are now providing take away services which have enabled them to continue trading and serving their communities which will hopefully not go un-noticed when everything is back to normal. Another idea maybe to try and pull forward any DIY refurbishment, we appreciate this is not an essential role and therefore you may not be able to get outside contractors in but it does not mean to say you cannot do a top quality job yourself.
Although labourers may not be able to work from home, website designers are perfectly placed to work from home and therefore it may be a great time to re-design your website or social media platforms. This could be part of the long term business plan which you could revise during this period as well even if this is just getting up to date with your own costings or what the competition are doing.
A final idea maybe to bridge the gap in any training needs during this time, assuming that there are online or distance learning options. These could range from bookkeeping training to health and safety or human resources.
We appreciate that this may be a really tough time for many but it is key to try and embrace it as positively as you can whilst still remaining safe and looking after others.